The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host an online residential rainwater harvesting and turf management training July 28 for Chambers, Harris and Liberty counties.
The training is offered in collaboration with the Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.
The free training will be online from 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. with a half-hour break for lunch. Participation is limited, and online registration is required.
Attendees can RSVP online or contact John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station, at email@example.com or 979-204-0573. Those who RSVP to the event will receive updates, instructions to join the online meeting and materials related to the meeting via email.
Landscaping best management practices
“The Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program aims to improve and protect surface water quality by enhancing awareness and knowledge of best management practices for residential landscapes,” Smith said.
Becky Grubbs-Bowling, Ph.D., Texas Water Resources Institute urban water specialist, Dallas, said attendees will learn about the design and installation of residential rainwater harvesting systems as well as appropriate turf and landscape species based on local conditions and other practices.
“Management practices such as using irrigation delivery equipment, interpreting soil test results and understanding nutrient applications can help reduce runoff and make efficient use of applied landscape irrigation water,” Grubbs-Bowling said.
Diane Boellstorff, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension water resource specialist in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, College Station, said proper fertilizer application and efficient water irrigation can protect and improve water quality in area creeks, and collecting rainwater for lawn and landscape needs reduces stormwater runoff.
Participants can have soil sampled
Participants can have their soil tested as part of the training. The soil sample bag and analysis are free to Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program participants.
Residents can pick up a soil sample bag with sampling instructions and the Urban and Homeowner Soil Sample Information Form beginning July 7. The items can be picked up at the AgriLife Extension offices in Chambers County, 295 White Memorial Park Rd., Anahuac; in Harris County, 13105 Northwest Freeway, Houston; or in Liberty County, 501 Palmer Ave., Liberty.
Bags containing residents’ soil samples should be returned to the location where they were obtained and not sent directly to the sampling lab.
“Attendees can submit a soil test by dropping their soil sample off to the AgriLife Extension offices in Chambers, Harris or Liberty counties prior to or by one week after the meeting,” Smith said.
Samples will be grouped into one submission and sent to the AgriLife Extension Soil, Water and Forage Testing Lab in College Station for routine analysis, including micronutrients, pH, conductivity, nitrate-nitrogen and other parameters.
The training will include information on how to understand soil test results and nutrient recommendations so residents can interpret results once the analysis is mailed to them.
The Cedar Bayou protection plan
Justin Bower, area council watershed coordinator for the Cedar Bayou Watershed, will discuss updates on watershed protection plan activities to improve and protect water quality in this watershed.
The Cedar Bayou Watershed Protection Plan provides an overview of water body improvement efforts.
Funding for the Healthy Lawns and Healthy Waters Program is provided in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreements to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The project is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.